Usborne’s Amazing Books on Shakespeare

best shakespeare books for kids

I am mildly (okay, that’s an understatement) obsessed with Shakespeare.

I’m not exactly a Shakespearean scholar or anything, even coming from a literature major in college, but really more of what I call a Shakespeare groupie.

I love Shakespeare and everything that he has given us, and I love to share the stories and the characters and the words with my kids.  My girls are still very young, but we’ve already seen multiple live performances together, watched some of the plays as movies, and done crafts and activities based on the plays.

And one of the original reasons that I became a consultant with Usborne Books & More is because of  Usborne Publishing’s amazing collection of books about Shakespeare.  Which is what this post is about.  I wanted to share with you how these books help to get kids excited about Shakespeare and help to research and understand his plays.

Though, honestly, I really got the books for myself.  My kids just get the benefits of having them around.  ;)

This seemed like the perfect time to share them, too, with this month being a worldwide celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.  Not a celebration that he died, mind you, but a celebration that we’re still so excited about and grateful for everything that he brought into our world through his art.

Talking about books seemed to me a great way to honor the words he gave us.  ;)

The books are much more impressive in person, however, than they appear from a simple photograph, so I’m first going to share a video review I made of the books listed here – so that you can see a glimpse inside of them and compare what they offer.  Then I’m going to list each book with a brief description.

Ugh … I don’t like watching myself on video.  But hopefully I was able to explain and demonstrate the books well enough for you to figure out what would be best for your household or classroom.  (Even if I did get confused and stumble over my words here and there…)

But if anything was unclear, or you have any further questions, please leave a comment here and I’ll do my best to help!

Here are the books, including the gift collection not mentioned in the video:

Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare

Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare

Recommended Age:  8+

Pages:  414

The Illustrated Stories contains retellings of 6 plays, all fully illustrated with artwork on every page.  It’s a hardcover book with a soft outer cover and includes a ribbon bookmark.

Plays included:  Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and the Tempest

Usborne Shakespeare Illustrated Collection

Usborne’s Shakespeare Hardcover Gift Collection

Recommended Age:  7+

Pages: 5 books at 64 pages each

This boxed set contains five hardcover books, one for each of the five plays represented, and each includes a ribbon bookmark.

Plays included:  Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo and Juliet

Sticker Dressing Shakespeare

Sticker Dressing Shakespeare

Recommended Age: 5+

Pages: 24 pages + 10 pages of stickers

This sticker dressing book allows you to dress up characters from many of the plays with over 160 stickers, from Bottom to Macbeth and Cleopatra to Hamlet.  Also includes some quotation stickers.

Where's Will Shakespeare's Hidden Characters

Where’s Will: Find Shakespeare Hidden in His Plays

Recommended Age: 7-11

Pages: 48

A truly fun and unique concept, this book of Where’s Will is the Shakespearean version of Where’s Waldo.

There is an illustrated summery from 10 of his plays, followed by a double spread illustration for each of those plays in which you must seek out characters from the play.

Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare

Stories from Shakespeare

Recommended Age: 12+

Pages: 192

This book is covered with a sturdy flexi-binding and retells 10 of Shakespeare’s plays with large lively illustrations.  Includes summaries of all of the plays.

Play include:  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, As you like it, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, The Winter’s Tale, Macbeth, and The Taming of the Shrew

The Usborne World of Shakespeare

The Usborne World of Shakespeare

Recommended Age: 11+

Pages: 64

Available in flexi-binding or in library binding, this book will thoroughly introduce you to Shakespeare.  Find out how he lived, what Elizabethan London was like, and why we still perform his plays today.

Includes multiple glossaries plus information about how to further research the topics on the internet.

Usborne's World of Shakespeare Reference Book

The World of Shakespeare Reference Book

Recommended Age: 10+

Pages: 32

Shorter than the book mentioned just above, this hardcover reference book contains similar information, but in smaller chunks and with a more colorful format.

That’s it for my review!  Overall, I highly recommend ALL of these books, but I understand most people aren’t going to rush out and stock up on each and every one of them, so I hope I’ve been able to help you decide on a favorite(s).

Also, be sure to follow me on Facebook where I have a habit of posting random funny or interesting Shakespeare stuff.  ;)

Happy Reading!

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Usborne’s “Noisy” Books Review

Noisy Books from Usborne Books & More (Review by Roaming Rosie)

Do your kids love to be noisy?  Because mine certainly do.

And, to be perfectly honest, the word “noisy” carried a rather negative connotation for me…. until I found these books!

I mean, I love when my kids get “noisy” by running around the backyard or playground and making a healthy ruckus…. but noisy TOYS?  No.  I avoid those things like the plague.

But when I started selling Usborne Books, I was intrigued by these.  Usborne has such amazing books, but would I like the ones that made sounds?  YES!  Would they be annoying like others I’ve found in stores?  Not at all!

In fact, even though my kids benefit by my being a consultant in that they get to read all the books that come through my house, the one I bought just for them was the Noisy Orchestra.  WE.  LOVE.  IT.  No kidding:  this thing rocks.  It has beautiful sounds, gorgeous illustrations, and it’s actually pleasant for me to listen to while my kids play with it in the car.

But the best part is – even though the orchestra book is our personal favorite – there are a TON of noisy/musical/sound to choose from and you can find one to fit the interests of the kids in your life!  Got a little one who loves monsters?  Pirates?  Trucks?  Castles???  We’ve got you covered!  :)

These books are rated for age 3 and up, but they’re also wonderful for beginning readers and early elementary ages.  Plus, they’re also sturdy enough when the younger siblings get hold of them:  rounded edges and thick pages for safety and a lifetime guarantee for accidents.  (Contact me for details!)

Here’s my video review of a few of the books:

And here are direct links to the books pictured above and featured in the video:

Noisy Castle

Noisy Circus

Noisy Diggers

Noisy Jungle

Noisy Monsters

Noisy Noah’s Ark

Noisy Orchestra

Noisy Pirates

Noisy Robots

Noisy Spooky Book

Noisy Train

Noisy Zoo

If you’d like more information about getting these books for free by throwing a Facebook party (anywhere in the U.S.!) or about how to become a consultant and enrich the lives of children by encouraging early literacy with amazing books like these, contact me on my book site or on Facebook!

Happy Reading!!

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Roaming Rosie Reads “The Dog Who Loved Red” by Anitha Balachandran

Roaming Rosie Reads

The Dog Who Loved Red by Anitha Balachandran is one of my favorite Kane Miller picture books.

The illustrations are a bright and fun celebration of color.

The dog’s name is Raja and Raja loves red.  He even has “red radar.”  He chews on Mrs. Lal’s red shawl and Mr. Lal’s gray and red socks, but Raja’s favorite red thing to chew is the old red ball that he and his friend Champ play with.

The Dog Who Loved Red

But the red ball is lost.  Champ is sad.

Then Raja uses his red radar to locate their red ball in the neighbor’s backyard.  The neighbor, Mr. Mehta, doesn’t like dogs.  But Raja braves Mr. Mehta and his blue hose to retrieve the ball.

He’s quite the colorful mess at the end, which results in a bath for him and lots of laughs from your audience.

Kids love the adventurous story and there are a ton of colors mentioned for your Little Ones to find.

In the video below, you can watch me reading the book:

I’m sorry to announce that The Dog Who Loved Red is no longer available to purchase new from Usborne Books & More/Kane Miller, and but you can find many other wonderful picture books at my Usborne site, Books With Rosie.

HOWEVER, you can still buy The Dog Who Loved Red as a used book on Amazon.

You can also watch other videos of me reading story books in my Roaming Rosie Reads posts.

A few more picture books that I love:

Bears Don't Read One Night in the Zoo Acorns and Stew, Too The Children Who Loved Books

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: Flippy Floppy Lift a Flap Jungle Animals

Flippy Floppy Jungle Animal Board Book

This Flippy Floppy Jungle Book is one of my kid’s newest fascinations.  They’ve been having a lot of fun with it.

It’s a great lift-the-flap board book from Usborne/Kane Miller that offers a lot of interaction for kids.

The purpose of the book is to lift four flaps in order to slowly reveal a hidden animal.  As you go, the animal you’re looking for appears as bits and pieces of other animals.  For example, the tail of the tiger is also the beak of a toucan and the body of a snake.

There are cut-outs to look through and a little bird to find on all of the pages.  The last page challenges kids to find all the animals again, and it’s sturdy enough for little hands to get excited about with thick pages and rounded corners.

I go into some more detail in my video review, where you can also see how it works:

And, yes… I’m aware that I have a strange expression on my face in the video thumbnail.  TRUST me – it was the best one!

I’m also aware that I keep calling it “Flippity Floppity Jungle Animals” on the video.  I don’t know why, but “Flippy Floppy” seems to be difficult for me to say…

Anyway, to see the book, or add it to your online wishlist, click:

Flippy Floppy Lift-the-Flap Jungle Animal Book

And if you like this book, you’ll also love:

Flippy Floppy Lift-the-Flap Farm Animals

Flippy Floppy Lift-the-Flap Farm Animals

Flippy Floppy Lift-the-Flap Ocean Animals

Flippy Floppy Lift-the-Flap Ocean Animals

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: My First Keyboard Book

My First Keyboard Book Review by Roaming Rosie

Usborne’s My First Keyboard Book is a lot of fun to play with … and not just for the kiddos.

I enjoy it, too, and so do a lot of adults that come in contact with it.

Part of the reason for this, I think, is the wonderful feel of smooth keys and the beautiful tone of the notes, which isn’t overly electronic.  It sounds like you’re playing a piano or a high-quality keyboard.

The book itself teaches you recognizable songs {like Twinkle, Twinkle and Row, Row, Row your Boat} with color coordinated keys.  There are dots of color on each key that correspond with patterns of dots that produce the song if you play them in that order.

It’s easier to show you than to tell you, so here’s my video review:

It is an internet linked book, so you can see a video of someone playing one of the songs, read some more reviews, and see pictures of the inside of the book on the Usborne site.

Other things I like about this book are that all of the keys work – even the black flat/sharp keys, and I especially like that there’s an on/off switch on the back.  It’s nice to know I can shut it off when we’re not using it and it’s stored on the bookshelf.

It’s easy to play, too.  My girls are 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 years old, and while the 2yo isn’t really interested in following the colored patterns, she does enjoy making her own music.  The 4yo is able to play the songs by following the patterns, although her rhythm needs some work.

My point is, this book is great for younger kids as well as older ones.  Little Ones might need much more practice before getting the hang of it, but older kids will pick it up right away and, like I mentioned above when I pointed out that adults seems to love it, it’s somewhat addicting.

Plus, there are actually a bunch of interactive books that get kids involved with and learning about music, many of which are illustrated in this graphic:

 

Children Love Music with Usborne Books

Happy Reading!

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